Cinema-Guild and Studio

2436 Telegraph Avenue,
Berkeley, CA 94704

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The Cinema-Guild was opened in a duplex storefront on the corner of Telegraph Avenue and Haste Street in 1952 by Ed Landberg and, according to an East Bay Express article (12/28/84) was said to be “the first repertory cinema in America”. Within a year Landberg opened a second theater, the Studio, adjacent to the Cinema-Guild, resulting in “the country’s first-ever ‘twin cinema’”.

It was at the Cinema-Guild and Studio that the “program guide” which included film reviews and essays on film, was introduced and became extremely popular with patrons of the theaters.

For a time Pauline Kael (who was married for a few years to Landberg) worked there as a manager before heading to the East Coast to become a legend in her own right.

Landberg expanded his operations in 1960 when he converted a recently-closed restaurant several blocks down Haste Street (at Shattuck Avenue) into the Cinema, which would years later be known as the Fine Arts(q.v). He would also go on to open the Gateway in San Francisco (q.v.). But in 1967, he closed the by-now legendary Cinema-Guild and Studio.

The storefront that housed the two theaters was subsequently converted into a bar and grill. It was badly damaged by a fire in November 2011, and the remains were demolished.

Contributed by Garrett Murphy

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on March 8, 2005 at 8:55 pm

In no way were the Cinema-Guild and Studio “the country’s first twin cinema”.

The Bexley Theatre in Ohio might be a better candidate for that honor.

Denis Vaughn
Denis Vaughn on April 26, 2008 at 9:50 pm

I don’t know about “first twin cinema” but I can tell you about the Cinema-Guild and Studio and the most bizarre “twin bill” I’ve ever experienced. It was in the mid or late 1960s. The two films were “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” and “The Pawnbroker.” Like I said, bizarre!

enrique53
enrique53 on June 18, 2011 at 4:45 pm

I was one of the projectionists at the Cinema 1969-1973(Shattuck and Haste) Paulene Kael stored her collection in our film vault.

jw456
jw456 on November 6, 2011 at 1:15 am

I lived around the corner from the Cinema Guild and went there all the time while a student at Berkeley. Special times! A terrific movie education, much fun, and great audiences.

gsmurph
gsmurph on December 8, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Sadly, the Sequoia Apartments, the building housing the former Cinema Guild was gutted by a several-alarm fire in November 2011 and was so badly damaged it had to be demolished. The cause was said to be an electrical short in the elevator’s machinery.

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